What is Greatness?

1 06 2016

greatnessHave you ever asked yourself what it means to be GREAT?

Maybe you haven’t asked yourself this exact question but you have most likely desired and maybe even taken steps towards some form of GREATNESS in your life.

This has increased in importance to me because I believe the understanding of “GREATNESS” has changed from a vigilant pursuit of the uncommon to something used more as a habitual punch line for vague, unwarranted and often average performance and living.

Pursuing GREATNESS should be a daily aim.

Because of my passion for this I want to INSPIRE a MOVEMENT of GREATNESS SEEKERS!!

Today, I define GREATNESS as intentionally pursuing my “HIGHEST SELF” while serving others to do the same. I believe pursuing greatness requires (3) things:

First, TRUE GREATNESS requires INTENT and personal initiative. To reach any form of excellence in our lives it is vital that we leverage our WILL. GREATNESS is never an accident. If I am to BECOME a GREAT husband, friend, athlete, or professional it starts with INTENT which is GENERATING THE WANT TO PURSUE.

Second, once INTENT has been established then CLARITY is required. INTENTION matched with CLARITY allows the energy of INTENT to be FOCUSED and invested into specific actions. It is these actions that generate the OUTCOMES that determine whether or not I AM A GREAT at what I am pursuing.

Lastly, I believe GREATNESS is consistently fueled by PASSION. Passion is the fuel utilized to persist through the barriers, challenges and roadblocks that will for sure seek to distract and discourage ones pursuit of GREATNESS.

In all honesty, I have not been the GREATNESS SEEKER that I hope to be and you might resonate with this as well. I know there is a cause, calling and a message that lives in me that I want to learn to FULLY EXPRESS. I believe this message would SERVE and INSPIRE many. However, if I do not start each day with INTENTION and EXPRESS my INTENTION through CLEARLY DEFINED ACTIONS sustained by the PASSION to see others live a life of GREATNESS I have to settle for the regret and disappointment of a life lived beneath its opportunity.

Let’s join together and SEEK GREATNESS!

Tell me about your pursuit of greatness in the comments below!


Dealing with Doubt

12 05 2016

Have you ever been getting ready to do something that you have prepared for only to find yourself overwhelmed with doubt? It could be a test you have studied for, a game you have marked on your calendar as significant, a tryout that will determine your next opportunity, or a meeting you have coming up that might open some doors for you.

These types of situations can all spark doubt.


However, doubt doesn’t have to derail you! In fact, when you experience doubt it is your CUE and SIGNAL to tune into or cultivate a NEW SELF TALK. What is self talk? It is the dialogue we cultivate within ourselves. The nature and coding of this conversation can either fuel us with COURAGE, PEACE, JOY, or DOUBT, DESPAIR, FEAR to name a few.

If we are going to OVERCOME DOUBT we need to speak to ourselves differently, not just once but ALL THE TIME.

Here is an example:

Recently I was preparing to shoot some training videos. Being in front of the camera has often brought about the self talk of “I am not good at this!” or “What right do I have to put something on video?” I end up DOUBTING MYSELF. The more I engage in this internal conversation, the more the doubt intensifies. Up until recently it has paralyzed me from even pursuing videos for the last 5 years.

When I was aware of this self talk I CHANGED it by saying, “I do not have to be perfect at this,” and “I will do my best and see where it takes me.” The more I engaged in that type of self talk the more I began to calm down and let go of the need to have it go a certain way. Doing this allowed me to ENJOY THE CHALLENGE and the LEARNING that the experience brought my direction. The funny thing is that where there was doubt at one point led to PRIDE, ENERGY and CONFIDENCE because of the EXPERIENCE.

I have learned that often my doubt is more about me than about what it is I am doing. I have had many experiences that have gone so much different than I thought they would (for the better). People have been more gracious, generous and accepting than I would have ever imagined.

If you will talk to yourself differently I believe with all my being that you will access COURAGE and ACTION where there has been doubt.


Start today by learning a new SELF TALK CODE.

To help you get started go ahead and schedule a High Performance Coaching Strategy Session with me today. This coaching session is a powerful spark to anyone that is looking to aim their life in a different direction. Click here for the 411 and I’ll talk to you soon on your High Performance Coaching Strategy Session!

Until then,


BONUS: Listen now to our latest Edge Talk with Shaun and Luke.  Luke will take you on his amazing journey of Overcoming Doubt.  Enjoy!


16 07 2014

imagesA troubling trend is emerging and gaining momentum quickly.  This destructive trend is the outsourcing of our opinions, perspectives, thoughts, interests, and evaluations to coaches, parents, friends, teachers.  Day after day I talk to athletes that are giving away their sense of personal power to a parent, a coach, as well as, friends. It would be one thing if they had already arrived at their OWN thought or opinion and were seeking new thoughts, affirmation or challenge to refine and strengthen their own opinions. Unfortunately, many have simply abdicated and allowed others to dictate and define their lives and thoughts for them. Now I know this isn’t without outside reinforcement. There are certainly many parents, coaches, friends, along with others that like to share, might I say, force their opinions on those around them believing they are helping. This is dangerous and destructive and needs to be confronted, challenged and changed. You might ask yourself, “what is the harm?” Quite frankly, the harm is significant and long standing.

The price tag of abdicating one’s opinion, perspective, and sense of possibility is significant!

  • Loss of inner confidence
  • Increased anxiety
  • Decreased engagement and motivation
  • Decreased self awareness
  • Inconsistent performance
  • Delayed learning
  • Delayed maturation
  • Decision-making skills underdeveloped
  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Increased confusion and despair

These are just a few of the unintended consequences.

When athletes play and learn in environments where their opinions are rarely asked the likelihood of outsourcing one’s opinions, perspectives and personal power is high. I believe we need to challenge, encourage and affirm our young athletes to retain to their personal power by asking, affirming and acknowledging their opinions and perspectives along with refraining from offering OUR thoughts. This is not to say that every opinion and perspective one generates is helpful. However, if we rarely ask or acknowledge then how does one ever cultivate a useful, productive and personalized perspective for themselves? This is often referred to in other circles as “growing your voice.”

Over the last 15 years of coaching athletes at every level I have found that those that have learned to believe in themselves starts with having an opinion that often leads to an inner confidence, strong work ethic and faster learning than those that simply wait for someone else’s approval or perspective on their performance.

If you are an athlete that has been prone to giving away your power then I offer these tips to gain back your sense of power:

  • Start with admitting that you have given your power away. What you are most likely doing is trading your power for the assurance that you will play or please. At some level you believe that if you try to fit your game to the satisfaction of someone else it will insure you will get playing time. Hey, the truth is playing time goes to those that are clear about their role, have the skills to perform and confidently and courageously engage themselves doing the best they can.
  • Determine your strengths. GET REALLY CLEAR about them. Most athletes hand over their power because they are not clear about their strengths. To compensate for their lack of clarity they simply allow someone else to tell them what to do. KNOW YOUR STRENGTHS!
  • Have an opinion before you ask someone else for theirs. It is to easy to shape what you think after you have heard someones opinion, especially if you respect them or they have power to determine your playing time or role. No matter what it is IMPORTANT to arrive at your own conclusion. You may need others to help affirm or challenge your opinion but HAVE ONE TO START!
  • Commit yourself to fully expressing yourself to the best of your ability. We are all at our best when we live boldly, confidently, intentionally, and without regret. You can do this by designing your life and play with clarity, support and the commitment to learning along the way.

Lets take the time to ask before we tell, acknowledge before we assume, and empower our young people to retain and refine their opinions and perspectives. In doing so we will be growing independent thinkers that can confidently withstand the objections, critical feedback and disappointment that often accompanies the competitive environment they will undoubtedly experience now and in the future.

Mentally Preparing for Playoffs…

28 02 2011

At some point in your athletic experience you will most likely participate in some kind of playoff. These games come with greater pressure, more potential anxiety, and greater emotional highs and lows. So, what are the best ways to manage these very difficult times? This article is going to highlight three principles for putting your best foot forward during the playoffs.

First, have Realistic Expectations. Young athletes hurt their own performance as well as their teams when they think that everything they try should work, or they shouldn’t have to deal with things that go the other teams way. I have found that the more unrealistic the expectations the more intense the frustration. Having unrealistic expectations sets us up to be unprepared for what is most likely to occur therefore, putting us at a disadvantage when events unfold that are out of alignment with what we thought would happen.

Second, Focus on Actions Rather than Results. In pressure filled situations it becomes very difficult to remain poised and emotionally stable. When our bodies become overwhelmed with anxiety and adrenaline our judgment may become compromised and we become prone to outbursts of frustration and anger sometimes resulting in taking a penalty, committing an untimely foul, or simply performing tentatively resulting in less then excellent performance. This is heightened when we become over focused on results rather then the actions that are required to earn the results that lead to victories and excellent performance.

Third, Exhibit Emotional Flexibility. Playoff time is filled with ups and downs. There are moments of great excitement as well as great despair. Because of these paradoxical moments athletes are forced to deal with these ups and downs with poise and with grace. Doing this requires the capacity to be flexible and not allowing one’s emotions to get too high or too low. A phrase I have used for years to summarize this principle is “Never too high, never too low”.

Playoffs test our mental, physical and emotional preparedness. With the tips above, the uncertainty and pressure of playoff time can be an opportunity to shine and reveal your Mental Edge on your competition.

Best to you this playoff season!

To find out more about this topic and to schedule a private consultation, please call 763.439.5246.

Shaun Goodsell
President and CEO
Mental Edge

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4 Things Coaches do to Harm a Goaltenders’ Mental Game (without knowing it)!

7 02 2010

Justin Johnson

Justin Johnson
Performance Coach, Mental Edge

This past fall I traveled across the state of Minnesota conducting goalie coaching clinics for youth hockey associations. During the two-hour sessions I consulted with coaches about ways they can increase the likelihood of their goaltenders having a positive experience in the game of hockey. 

What I discovered is there are many coaches who are on the right track with their goalies and their development. 

There are also a few who have trouble communicating with their goalies. Even more struggle with how they orchestrate practices and games in a way that encourages goaltender development.

In an effort to shed some light on how coaches can set their goalies up for success, I have included four common pitfalls to avoid. My aim is to inform coaches about the ways they harm their goaltenders’ mental development, often times without even knowing it!

1.)  Not sure what to say, so say nothing
Historically head coaches and their staff have struggled with how to coach, challenge and develop the goaltenders on their team. Many coaches haven’t played the position, so they feel paralyzed when trying to address technical information and fundamentals. This lack of goalie know-how, typically leads to frustrating conversations or even an avoidance of conversations because it doesn’t land in the coaches’ comfort zone.
I encourage coaches to make an effort to positively impact every player on the team, including goaltenders. Rather than keep quiet, sit down with your goaltender(s) to learn about what they need to be successful. Many goaltenders, even as young as squirts know what should have been done differently on goals they give up. As a coach, ask them what you can do to make practices better to address the situations you are seeing in games. Goalies need to feel a part of the team and process – ignoring them because of your ignorance can shake their trust, confidence and ultimately negatively impact their experience.

2.)  Pulling the goalie without giving explanation
Eventually a game will get out of hand or an off-night will come around where it is in either the team’s or the goaltender’s best interest to pull them from the game. I believe that the pulling of a goalie is a necessary part of the game and one that if done correctly builds character and a winning spirit in an individual. If done incorrectly you may have a disruptive issue that lasts all season, and negatively impacts the mindset of your goaltenders for quite some time. I have witnessed and yes been a participant to many ugly pullings, where coaches yell at the goalie on the way to the bench or display incredibly poor body language that sends the wrong message to all watching.
When you decide to pull your goaltender doing so correctly comes down to two items. Conduct yourself in a calm and professional manner, including body language, by continuing to coach your team in a positive way. Secondly, you must not let that goaltender leave from the arena without knowing why you pulled them and or how you intend to help them have a better outing next time. As a side note I feel it is acceptable to tell the goalie on the bench why you pulled them if it was done so to help change team momentum. If it was simply a rough night for the goalie, it is better to discuss in private after the game.

3.)  Shouting instructions from the bench

Rarely have I seen great coaching advice that makes an immediate impact on a goalies performance by being yelled from the bench for all to see and hear. Other than encouragement or to notify the goalie to come to the bench, coaches should never yell to a goaltender. The repercussions of yelling include embarrassment, confusion, frustration, and a fear of making mistakes all of which deter a quality mindset and performances. In other words whatever gem of advice you may have and result you get from it will be eroded by a mindset that requires the goaltender to play for you rather than themselves and their instinct.
If a persistent issue is occurring there are a number of ways to communicate more effectively. You can wait until there is an intermission, relay the message to a mature player you feel will communicate to your goalie with the correct tone and message intended, or call a time-out.

4.)  Waiting right before the game to designate the starter
Perhaps the most common mistake coaches make without knowing it is waiting to decide or inform which goalie will play. Coaches fail to understand that goaltending is a position that requires a significant amount of preparation. If a goalie does not know, that preparation is undermined, resulting in a less than prepared, less confident goaltender. Coaches have stated they use this tactic to judge who looks best in warm-ups or to make sure both goalies are ready. Both of these tactics are mentally counterproductive and will create negative effects not only for your goaltenders but also the rest of the team.
I suggest coaches give notice to BOTH goaltenders as to who will be playing a night in advance if possible or the morning of the game at the latest. This should be plenty of time for your goaltenders to prepare, giving your team the best chance of a quality performance. This is a simple request and one that will be greatly appreciated by your goaltenders.

Remember if you are good to your goalies they will likely be good to you and your team!

For more information, contact Justin@MentalEdgeNow.com